Home | Jeremy Côté
Bits, ink, particles, and words.
When you have a lot of homework, it’s awfully tempting to just look up the answers. After all, you’re only doing it because you want to get other homework done, right? And if you take the time to read through the solutions, it’s good enough. You aren’t just copying down answers. You’re following the work that is done.
One of the incorrect assumptions I’ve long made is about teaching. Basically, I would get excited by the prospect of teaching some sort of concept to another person, and so I would work very hard on the presentation. However, there would inevitably come a moment when I’d realize that I wasn’t actually an expert in what I was talking about, so I would decide to stop the project.
During my science education at CÉGEP, there was a lot to learn. In two years, I took five physics classes, four mathematics classes, two chemistry classes, and a biology class. This was in addition to many other complementary and language classes I had, which meant there was a lot of content to get through over the years. Consequently, there was an impetus to prioritize work by looking at whatever was coming up in the next week. Once the material was covered, it could safely be forgotten.
As I’ve written about many times here before, I’m a big proponent of understanding why one is using a certain strategy or procedure during a problem. In my mind, understanding the essence of the process is a great way to learn. However, this comes with a huge caveat, which is rarely talked about. The piece that sparked my reflection is an article on Nautilus, where the author explains how she went from being a translator (and someone that wouldn’t even look at science and mathematics) to reinventing herself and becoming a professor of engineering.